Gameweek 34: Man U Have to be Kidding Me….
Southampton 2 – Chelsea 3
St. Mary’s Stadium | Saturday, April 14th, 2018 | 7:30 AM EST
Chelsea traveled to St. Mary’s in fifth place with just twelve points won since the turn of the year. Southampton hosted the champions, sitting in the relegation zone at eighteenth and with just eleven points in their year to date total. Southampton began the game the more interested of the two teams with Chelsea playing in a lackluster manner, lacking any composition to their play. Chelsea arguably has lost their desire and passion to play following an almost certain omission from next years Champions League following defeat to Spurs and the increasing likeliness of a managerial change in the summer. Southampton climbed to a two-goal lead through Dusan Tadic and Jan Bednarek before the introduction of Olivier Giroudturned the game on its head, literally, as he’s done so many times before, with his head. The Frenchman first rose highest to meet Marcos Alonso’s cross into the box before Eden Hazard leveled things up five minutes later. Giroud got his second of the game, firing low on the volley after a scramble in the box three minutes later, making it three goals in eight minutes for the blues, seeing out the rest of the game in comfortable fashion while leaving Southampton deflated and still below the drop zone.
Olivier Giroud (24) scored twice in the 29 minutes he played off the bench. Not many fantasy owners will have included him in their starting eleven, but the Frenchman moved to second place on the all-time scoring list for contributions off the bench. Eden Hazard (23.5) had his first goal or assist contribution in five gameweeks as he scored to level things up. Willian (22.5) contributed by assisting the equalizer for Chelsea as well as making six key passes.
Dusan Tadic (21) was pulling all of the strings for Southampton on the day, but it was an assist from captain Ryan Bertrand (10.5) that opened the scoring for the Serbian midfielder. James Ward Prowse (11) sent in a blinding cross on the set piece to Premier League debutant Jan Bednarek (7) to make it two goals to the good before Chelsea barnstormed the day to leave Southampton doing the grim math in front of them.
Swansea City 1 – Everton 1
Liberty Stadium | Saturday, April 14th, 2018 | 10:00 AM EST
Swansea came out with a point to prove on a sunny day at the Liberty Stadium, where they’ve recently beaten Liverpool, Arsenal, Burnley, and West Ham. Jordan Ayew made his return from a three-match ban, and Rooney started despite his outburst at his early departure from the previous match. Despite Swansea being in control on and off the ball for the majority of the first half, Everton scored first against the run of play (Kyle Naughton OG, 43’). The second half went back and forth until Swansea was able to pin back the Everton side and capitalize on a poor clearance from Seamus Coleman. (Jordan Ayew 71’, assist Tom Carroll). It wasn’t an encouraging display from the Toffees who were happy to leave with a point.
Jordan (18.5) & André Ayew (12.5): The Ayew brothers were the lead playmaking duo during the match, both were a threat to score throughout. Jordan deservedly scored the equalizer in the 71st, the creativity in his runs and passes caused nightmares for the Everton right side. He scored his second largest point total for the season despite a yellow card and six dispossessions.
Lukasz Fabianski (5.25), Kyle Naughton (-4), Federico Fernández (16.75), Alfie Mawson (6.25), Martin Olsson (4.5): The Swansea defense continues to underperform, none of the defensive starters for the match have an average L3W greater than three. Swansea’s control over the game did not leave many fantasy points to go around. Federico Fernández was the standout player with an impressive 9 aerial duels won and 7 clearances. Naughton was unlucky to have Everton’s goal deflect off of him and into the net, he finished with a negative point total for the second time in three weeks. The future doesn’t look bright for this group, as their next two matches are at Manchester City and at home against Chelsea.
Cenk Tosun (6), Yannick Bolasie (8.5), Wayne Rooney (4), Theo Walcott (6): Business as usual for the Everton attack, which isn’t a good thing – they continue to trend down. Everton wasn’t dangerous for the majority of the game, things aren’t clicking for this group, and we could see the introduction of Oumar Niasse and Dominic Calvert-Lewin into the starting line up next week.
Crystal Palace 3 – Brighton & Hove Albion 2
Selhurst Park | Saturday, April 14th, 2018 | 10:00 AM EST
South London’s Selhurst Park was the scene of a crucial game at the bottom of the Premier League, with both clubs looking to keep their necks above the relegation line. With Southampton losing today, following a comeback by an Olivier Giroud inspired Chelsea, both clubs had a chance to cement their place in next years competition. The first half of the match was explosive, the ball hitting the back of the net five times between the two teams. Crystal Palace got off to a blistering start through goals from Wilfried Zaha, and James Tomkins before Lewis Dunk’s header from a corner was knocked in at point-blank range from Brighton talisman Glenn Murray. Crystal Palace’s third of the half came via a pinpoint cross from the foot of Milijojevic to the head of Wilfried Zaha for the pair’s second combination of the day. Izquierdo neatly slotted away Brighton’s second of the day, setting up a tense and tactical second half. Brighton will feel they did enough to earn them an equalizer and a share of the points but a combination of turgid defending, namely from goalkeeper Wayne Hennesey and Mamadou Sakho, and uncharacteristic misses from Glenn Murray meant that Brighton will have to be wary as they enter the final gameweeks of the season, where they play their final five games against five of the Premier League’s top seven.
Wilfried Zaha (29.5) and Luka Milivojevic (23.5) amassed their impressive returns in the first half with Milivojevic assisting Wilfried Zaha on two occasions while almost scoring a fourth for Palace. James Tomkins (21) scored a goal and contributed twelve effective clearances.
Glenn Murray (16.5) and Jose Izquierdo (17) were both on target for Brighton but the former will be left ruing his chances as he had multiple opportunities to draw Brighton level.
Liverpool 3 – AFC Bournemouth 0
Anfield | Saturday, April 14th, 2018 | 10:00 AM EST
AFC Bournemouth started with Jermain Defoe up top despite last week’s poor performance, Joshua King replaced Callum Wilson in the second striker role after his superior display against Crystal Palace, and Jordan Ibe returned from his brief spell on the bench due to illness. The Fab Three started together after their hiatus against Everton – it didn’t take long for them to find their groove. Liverpool scored early, which effectively turned Bournemouth’s defensive line of 5 into an invitation for sustained pressure, opening up the game up far sooner than what Eddie Howe would have preferred. Bournemouth held firm for much of the game despite their early concession, but a brilliant team goal orchestrated by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah put Liverpool up two at which point there was no looking back. Liverpool has a relatively smooth remaining run of games, but the UCL semi-finals may phase out their first team as the season comes to a close.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (13.5), Jordan Henderson (11), Georginio Wijnaldum (12): It’s the attacking trident that receives the majority of plaudits, but the cohesiveness and balance between this trio is the bass in Liverpool’s heavy metal ethos. The understanding displayed by this group is impeccable; each midfielder is allowed to play to their strengths while covering for each other’s weakness. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is enabled to drive into space while Henderson makes himself available, and Wijnaldum patrols in front of the back four ready to confiscate any loose balls.
Mohamed Salah (21.5), Trent Alexander-Arnold (29.75): This duo combined for one of the best goals of the season for Liverpool’s second goal. TAA played a pinpoint cross from 40+ yards onto Salah’s head who dinked the ball over the keeper while being flanked from both sides. It was an “off game” for Salah, but he still scored 20+ points for the third time in four weeks as he became only the 8thPremier League player to score 30+ goals in a season. TAA will be pushing for an invitation to the World Cup from England given his recent performances. The next 5 weeks will be crucial as he’s positioned to feature in both the Premier League and UCL semi-finals.
Jermain Defoe (0.5), Joshua King (7), Jordan Ibe (-0.5), Callum Wilson (0.5): To say Bournemouth’s attack was undetectable would be kind given their non-existent performance on Saturday. The lack of any threat going forward wasn’t just down to the players; Eddie Howe’s defensive team selection backfired immediately as the players on the pitch didn’t have the requisite skill to break down the Liverpool side after conceding so early. Bournemouth plays Manchester United next and is off the following game week, so it’s time to find some short-term replacements if you’ve been reliant on any Bournemouth attackers.
Newcastle United 2 – Arsenal 1
St. James Park | Sunday, April 15th, 2018 | 8:30 AM EST
Arsenal’s away performance has been historically dreadful this season; they’ve lost four away matches in a row, a fifth would be their first time losing five on the trot for the first time since 1984. Additionally, Arsenal was on 13 away points for the season, their all-time low is 22. Arsenal went with a moderate team selection, Aaron Ramey, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, and Laurent Koscielny stayed home on a day where they were desperately needed. The game was a tedious watch with a respective plot; Newcastle over the top, Arsenal collect inconvincibly and pass it side to side for a few minutes at which point Newcastle pressure Arsenal into a mistake and resume their ball over the top routine. Arsenal possessed the ball for 72% of the game but only produced three shots on goal in a quintessential Arsenal performance away from home.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (19), Alexandre Lacazette (15.5): Arsenal’s main men up front connected early to get their points but that was it. It was a well-worked goal that gave Arsenal supporters a glimpse into what the future may hold, but the fact is that PEA or Lacazette will never reach their potential without a functional midfield behind them.
Granit Xhaka (4), Mohamed Elneny (4): Xhaka and Elneney have each been on a decent as of late, but this midfield duo hasn’t, didn’t, and will not work together. Each prefers to take up a more defensive position in the attack to recycle the ball to their forwards so playing them both is an impediment to space and creativity. Arsenal badly missed Aaron Ramsey’s runs forward into the box, Xhaka nor Elneny had the confidence to burst forward and create for their team.
Jonjo Shelvey (5), Mohamed Diame (9.5), Ayoze Perez (23.5), Matt Ritchie (17.5): Newcastle’s star men ran the show against Arsenal. Shelvey, protected by Diame, played the ball over the top repeatedly – Arsenal responded by fumbling most 50/50s and refusing to put pressure on the Newcastle man. Perez and Ritchie were purposeful when they received the ball, they lit up the scoreboard with the help of inexplicable defending from Arsenal.
Manchester City 2 – Man United 3
Etihad Stadium | Saturday, April 7th, 2018 | 12:30 PM EST
Sixteen points clear and needing just one win to clinch the Citizen’s third premier league title in three years meant this Manchester Derby had more significant than usual implications. It developed into perhaps one of the finest advertisements for the Premier League’s Elite and the league itself emerging as the most-watched Premier League match in U.S. broadcasting history. A tale of two halves, the first all Manchester City, while the second was the stage of a blistering comeback by the Red Devils. Captain Vincent Kompany opened up the scoring for City, reminding us of his heroics in 2012 when he opened up the scoring in the Manchester Derby in a win for the Sky Blues as they marched towards their first Premier League Title. Gundogan added another, smartly turning Matic before firing low into the corner of the goal. Man City would’ve been disappointed, however, as they could have made it five in the first half. Sterling notably missing two clear-cut chances. Man United came out of the tunnel for the second half full of ferocity, turning the game level through a pair of impressive goals from Paul Pogba before Chris Smallingsealed the game and ensured the champagne would remain on ice, at least for another week.
Paul Pogba (27) was the star man on the day. All the focus was on the Frenchman following the controversial comments made by City coach Pep Guardiola over the week. Pogba contributed finely with two goals in the second half, and although his hair may have been sky blue, his input ensured that Manchester would be red, at least for now. The Chilean, Alexis Sanchez (24) put in an excellent shift of his own, arguably his best game in the red of Manchester. The former Arsenal talisman contributed with two assists, assisting Chris Smalling (13.5) for the winner.
The sky blues failed to produce a standout performer in Fantasy this week. Manchester City started the game without mainstays Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker, beginning the game with Raheem Sterling (18) as their most forward player. Sterling assisted Ilkay Gundogan (14) but missed multiple opportunities to increase City’s lead.
AFC Bournemouth 2 – Crystal Palace 2
Vitality Stadium | Saturday, April 7th, 2018 | 10:00 AM EST
The rematch between Bournemouth and Crystal Palace featured two teams with vastly different ambitions for the last six matches of the season. Bournemouth is attempting to finish in the top half of the table for the second time in a row (not bad for a team promoted three years ago), and Crystal Palace is trying to avoid a relegation battle that is unbefitting for a team with as much talent as they have
Jermain Defoe started up top for the first time since December alongside Callum Wilson, Jordan Ibe missed out due to illness, and Pugh replaced the injured Junior Stanislas, who is out for the remainder of the season. Palace was without Christian Benteke, who is suffering from a groin injury, but they welcomed the return of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and James Tomkins who were both fit enough to start.
The game was lively throughout, both sides created chances, but it was Crystal Palace who will feel hard done after going ahead and then conceding twice. All four goals were scored in the second half, the last goal coming in the 89th minute in a heartbreaker for a Crystal Palace team that will do well to avoid the feeling of doubt moving forward after allowing another lead slip from their grasp.
Luka Milivojevic (17.5): Milivojevic has been a revelation this season amongst Palace’s woes, a spot-kick specialist who has scored the majority of his goals from dead ball situations. He came good again for the first goal of the game (47’, Cabaye assist), a bending, banana-like free kick that he calmly stroked home from right outside the box.
Wilfried Zaha (24) & Andros Townsend (21.5): Zaha and Townsend started up top in Crystal Palace’s 4-4-2 formation and were a handful to deal with all game long. On attack they looked to stretch Bournemouth’s backline, tending to drift out wide into space to receive the ball before engaging their defenders in a 1 on 1 duel. It didn’t always work, Zaha especially reminds you of a 13-year-old attempting to dribble through the entire team on FIFA Ultimate Team, but it sure did look great when it came off. Determination and a slick roulette put Zaha into position to score Palace’s second after Townsend did well to hold up possession after another incisive run (75’, Townsend assist).
Callum Wilson (4.5), Jermain Defoe (0): Defoe was missing in action for most of the game – his first touch was almost as dreadful as his passing. He only touched the ball 23 times in 90 minutes. Callum was pulled in the 61st minute after a similar display, his touch was off as was his finishing – none of his five shots bothered the keeper.
Joshua King (14), Lys Mousset (12.5): To make matters worse for Wilson and Defoe regarding selection order, Eddie Howe’s two substitute strikers both managed to score. The 22-year-old Frenchman Mousset scored his second Premier League goal, side-footing his shot past the keeper from a layoff at the top of the box (65’, Fraser assist). King was at the right place at the right time in the 89th minute, tapping one home after Steve Cook flicked a corner across the box. King (241 points for the season, 15.17 L3W) is a must-own in most leagues – he’ll be especially valuable to Callum Wilson owners, given Bournemouth’s lineup unpredictability.
Everton 0 – Liverpool 0
Goodison Park | Saturday, Aril 7th, 2018 | 7:30 AM EST
The last Merseyside Derby of the season will be forgotten almost as quickly as it occurred. A match that featured a Liverpool side that made six changes after their thrilling UCL win and an Everton side that lacked the determination to make an imprint on the game resulted in a dull performance that was only worth tuning in for the last 20 minutes as Everton did eventually put Liverpool on their heels.
Dominic Solanke (6.5), Danny Ings (5.5), Sadio Mane (6): Liverpool’s front three, which was missing 2 of the Fab Three, weren’t nonexistent but were content to take their chances as they appeared and didn’t chase the game. Solanke had the best chances of the three, misplacing a header and soon after a shot from six yards away that should have been buried. If Liverpool progress in the Champions League, as will likely be the case, Solanke and Ings may be worth a pickup if your roster has space.
Cenk Tosun (3), Theo Walcott (7), Wayne Rooney (1), Yannick Bolaise (2.5): The Everton forwards played directly into Liverpool’s hands – they didn’t put pressure on a makeshift Liverpool backline, and for most of the game, they were timid on the ball. Cenk Tosun who had been on a good run of form (14.5 L3W) missed some chances that he’ll regret. Theo Walcott was going against CB Ragnar Klavan on the right flank, but he refused to test him for the majority of the game. Bolaise almost replicated his stunning finish against Man City from last weekend, but other than that he was a black hole going forward, completing 6 of his 17 attempted passes. Wayne Rooney was equally substandard, slow and unimaginative on the ball. He was visually displeased after he was the first substitute of the game in the 57thminute. None of Everton’s attacking players gave an effort fantasy owners would like to see, but there is too much talent on this team to give up on them
Loris Karius (11), Ragnar Klavan (7), Virgil van Dijk (12), Dejan Lovren (17), Nathaniel Clyne (7.5)
Jordan Pickford (16), Seamus Coleman (12.25), Michael Keane (15.5), Phil Jagielka (16.5), Leighton Baines (10.5): With Liverpool’s eyes on their UCL tie at Man City on Tuesday and Everton’s circumspect attack (by instruction), the defenders and keepers were the players to own for this match. The game resulted in only four shots on target, but Karius and Pickford both played their part at keeping it 0-0 as two of those attempts would have been goals if not for a spectacular save from each.
Arsenal 3 – Southampton 2
The Emirates | Sunday, April 8th, 2018 | 9:30 AM EST
This game had it all; end to end attacking football, defensive mishaps, premier league debuts, a late winner, and a double dose of red cards in extra time. Arsenal made seven changes to the side that beat CSKA Moscow at home last Thursday; notable introductions included inconsistent Alex Iwobi, recently fit Danny Welbeck, the often omitted Sead Kolasinac, Premier League debutant Reiss Nelson, and the cup-tied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Southampton arrived ready to defend – they started the game with 5 defenders, the most noticeable omission from the lineup being GK Fraser Forster who was on the bench while Alex McCarthy got the start.
Shane Long (17), Charlie Austin (15.5), Cedric (18.75): As soon NBC’s commentator mentioned Shane Long had scored one goal in his last 47 matches for club & country, seasoned Arsenal fans knew it was time to bet the house on him scoring. An unfortunate sequence of play from Kolasinac got it started as he first misplaced a pass and then got beat by the cross from Cedric which found its way across the box after some inexplicable defending from Mustafi (17’, Cedric assist). Long looked energetic throughout, winning an impressive 7 aerial duals despite his listed height at 5’10”. Charlie Austin scored the second goal from another cross by Cedric (73’, Cedric assist). The Southampton side looks reenergized with the introduction of Mark Hughes as manager, they tested Arsenal till the end. They have an easier schedule than the other teams around them in the relegation battle, so bringing in a Southampton attacking player may be tempting, except for their lineups are one of the more difficult ones to predict with the number of serviceable attacking players at their disposal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (18), Danny Welbeck (31.5), Alex Iwobi (21.5): PEA continued his brilliant run of form since joining Arsenal – he’s been involved in seven goals in the Premier League since his transfer (6 goals, 1 assist), the most of any Arsenal player in their first seven appearances. The Southampton backline held him in check for the first 20 minutes as they dropped deep to constrict space in behind. PEA responded by dropping deep to collect the ball and distribute, which worked perfectly as he initiated a passage of play culminating in a clever first-touch flick by Welbeck to send Aubameyang in on goal (28’, Welbeck assist). Welbeck scored 10 minutes later (38’) after cutting inside and ricocheting a shot off of Southampton defender that wrong-footed the keeper and found its way to the back of the net. Iwobi grew into the game, his decisive decision making and first touch were exactly what he needed to regain confidence after a series of low-quality performances. His pinpoint pass to Danny Welbeck (’81, Iwobi assist) after a sublime trap set Arsenal up to eventually take home the three points. Arsenal’s Europa League fixtures will keep both Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi in the mix, especially after Henrkh Mkhitaryan sustained a knee injury that could take 2-3 weeks to recover from, if not longer.
Jack Stephens (-2.75), Jack Wilshere (-1), Mohamed Elneny (3): Between Welbeck’s go-ahead goal and the final whistle, both Jack Stephens and Mohamed Elneny received red cards for hand to head contact, and Wilshere received a yellow for a professional foul on the Southampton defender. Elneny’s red card has since been rescinded, he’s likely to get a few more starts before the end of the season as Aaron Ramsey is saved for the Europa League and Wilshere hasn’t shown the stamina or presence to take hold of the central midfield.
Brighton Hove Albion 1 – Huddersfield Town 1
Amex Stadium | Saturday, April 7th, 2018 | 10:00 AM EST
With both teams still in the relegation danger zone, this was a pivotal matchup at the bottom. Both sides, following wins in February, hadn’t found the back of the net in some time, amassing over 600 minutes between them since the last time they scored. Jonas Lössl, unluckily, opened up the scoring for the visitors when Solly March’s low driven shot hit off the post, onto his outstretched hand and into the back of the net, one for the dubious goals committee. Huddersfield Town equalized three minutes later through their top scorer Steven Mounie, who capitalized on an uncharacteristically bad back pass from Albion totem Shane Duffy. The tide looked set to turn in favor of the visitors when Seagull midfielder Davy Propper received a red card for a reckless challenge in midfield. Following the dismissal, it was Brighton looking the more likely to score with the home side passing up two clear chances to take all three points. In the end, spoils shared, with Huddersfield playing three teams from the top six and Brighton playing four, both teams will be ruing their chances spurned.
No notable performances to report from the backline of Brighton. Shane Duffy (4.5) played a bad back pass, which directly resulted in Huddersfield’s goal. Out of character for a defender with the most effective clearances in the league.
Solly March (18) was the standout performer for Brighton. His shot lead to an own goal which he was credited an assist for. Pascal Gross (8) had a quiet game in the Brighton midfield.
Following a drought in front of goal for Huddersfield, Steve Mounie (13.5) capitalized on a poor Brighton back pass. The Beninese had eight dispossessions to subtract four from his total.
Gameweek 32: West Brom Get Burned; Top 4 A Bridge Too Far For Blues
West Brom 1 – Burnley 2
The Baggies were looking to continue their good record against Burnley by making it six unbeaten in the Premier League. West Brom’s abysmal form of eight defeats in a row in all competitions, however, meant that getting a result against seventh-place Burnley was to be more of the same. Sean Dyche’s men lined up with their preferred back four, pairing Ben Mee with Tarkowski in the fourth best defense in the league. The Clarets lead their attack through their two inform strikers, meaning starts and goals for Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes, who made it four goals in four games by scoring a stunning volley against Pardew’s sinking ship. West Brom was able to get back into the game via their top scorer Solomon Rondon, with five goals in the Premier League, but finding an equalizer would be too challenging for a team that all too often struggles to find the back of the net. It would be Alan Pardew’s final game in charge of West Brom, who remains ten points away from safety with just six to play.
Mee (8.25) Lowton (6.75) Tarkowski (4.25) Ward (12) An average performance from Burnley defenders as they were denied a clean sheet by what is often the case of teams at the bottom fighting for survival. Fullbacks for Burnley continue to be useful inclusions while they continue to select their two inform strikers.
Ashley Barnes (10.5) & Chris Wood (14.5) Both strikers in a good run of form, scoring in eight of the last four matches between them. Selections in a ten man league would be warranted considering their upcoming fixtures.
It’s hard to justify inclusions of any attacking West Brom players, Craig Dawson (12.25) and Johnny Evans (13) may be the only exceptions but considering their terrible run of form and their potential resignation to relegation their inclusions in matchday squads may be ill-advised.
Solomon Rondon (16) The Venezuelan put his chance away nicely albeit in a bit of controversy as a Burnley player was down in his own box. For the starting striker of a team heading for the championship, five goals doesn’t seem like a terrible return. The striker has made the majority of his contributions through the aerials he has won, where he ranks fifth in the league for forwards.
Arsenal 3 – Stoke City 0
In what looked to be a performance representative of Arsenal’s season thus far, they were able to pull out a 3-0 win, scoring three goals in the final 20 minutes of the match. It was an unfair result for Stoke, who harassed a makeshift Arsenal team coming off of the international break. Calum Chambers, Mohamed Elneny, and Danny Welbeck received the rare Premier League start, but it was the introduction of Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan which invigorated the side and eventually propelled them to the win.
Nacho Monreal (21.25), Shkodran Mustafi (17.75), Calum Chambers (18.75): It was a strong showing from the Arsenal defense regarding fantasy points; Stoke pushed the issue but never scored their goal. Nacho and Mustafi are nailed on starters, and Calum is cementing himself as the third-choice Arsenal CB. He’s worth a look in 10 team leagues.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (29): PEA had a decent opportunity blocked late in the game by an in-form Butland, but it didn’t matter in the end as he buried one from the penalty spot (75’) before smashing home an opportunity from a corner (86’) that Stoke couldn’t clear. Fantasy owners won’t be as impressed with the team spirit shown by PEA as he forwent his hattrick opportunity to give Lacazette the last goal from the spot (89’).
Mesut Ozil (24.5): Ozil was his usual world-class self, winning the first penalty (albeit controversial) to get Arsenal rolling. He contributed with six chances created – a more clinical Arsenal side would have given him another assist.
Alexandre Lacazette (15): It was a ‘fake-out’ by the Frenchman; although he didn’t start, 15 points is always a strong performance, bolstered by Aubameyang’s generosity. It wasn’t underserved as he won the second penalty.
Jack Butland (10.25): Despite conceding three goals, Butland’s eight saves and a clearance netted him the double-digit gameweeks.
Shaqiri (6.5): Shaqiri, who was recently quoted in the Swedish press lamenting about the lack of quality around him, may have a point. The highlight of his match was hitting the far post from the corner-spot, which would have given Stoke a 1-0 lead and surely a greater lease on the game.
Kurt Zouma (0): An injury late in the week kept Zouma out of the squad – perhaps it was for the best, but it is reasonable to think Stoke’s stand-out CB would have made a difference in the match.
Chelsea 1 – Tottenham Hotspur 3
Chelsea and Tottenham squared up for what is likely the only remaining Champions League spot for the coming season. With Spurs in fourth and five points above The Blues in fifth, this was a must-win fixture for Chelsea if they were to mount any substantial challenge in the final seven weeks of the season. Chelsea lined up with the once red-hot Alvaro Morata leading the attack while Spurs were without their star man with Harry Kane starting on the bench, instead opting for Son Hueng-min to lead at the front. Chelsea began brightly and opened up the scoring through their Spanish striker before the tide turned following a mistake from Victor Moses, losing the ball in Chelsea’s own half leading to a ferociously deceiving strike from Christian Eriksen. A pair of Dele Ali goals in the second half, the final scored from calamitous defending from Chelsea, ensured that Tottenham Hotspur would collect their first three points at Stamford Bridge since 1990.
With The Blues tactically outdone at the Bridge there were few standout performers. Alvaro Morata (16) collected his goal but was unable to muster much else through the failings of their attacking players Eden Hazard (14.5), Willian (4.5) and Cesc Fabregas (9.5).
The blues backline failed to produce anything notably although the ever-reliant Cesar Azpilicueta (10) was able to provide a double-digit contribution despite not having any goals or assists to his name. Victor Moses (9.75) had a day to forget in the Blues backline, although he registered an assist for Morata to open his account back up for Chelsea.
A historical day for Spurs highlighted by star players Christian Eriksen (19.5) and Dele Alli (30.5) who would’ve made his fantasy owners proud by producing his highest fantasy return this season. A lot has been made of the 21-year-old’s performances this year, but a fantasy return of eight goals and twelve assists means the Russia-bound youngster is still a valuable asset for fantasy owners, even if his contributions have come in waves rather than consistent returns.
No notable returns from the Spurs backline, Trippier (2.75) earned the start over Serge Aurrier but didn’t produce anything worth mentioning, as it was the Spurs midfield doing all the work.
Everton 1 – Manchester City 3
It was a splendid away performance for one of the greatest teams in Premier League history; Manchester City scored quickly and scored often, the three points were wrapped up before the halftime whistle blew. Gabriel Jesus got the start up top after Aguero sustained an injury in training, one which will keep him out of the UCL clash against Liverpool midweek. Everton started bravely with five players who play/have played striker in their careers (Rooney, Walcott, DCL, Bolasie, and Tosun), but that decision quickly turned ludicrous after Man City scored twice in the first 15 minutes, making the remaining 75 nothing but a formality. For a team that held on to the ball 84% of the match, Man City looked lethal on the counter-attack, while looking nonchalant when they poked and prodded their way through the Everton defense.
David Silva (23), Gabriel Jesus (16), Raheem Sterling (13), Leroy Sane (21.5), Kevin De Bruyne (14): Man City’s attacking players were firing on all cylinders. Sane scored the first from a difficult volley in the box (4’, Silva assist), Jesus headed home an opportunity from point blank range (12’, KDB assist) 30 seconds after Bolasie missed a similar opportunity, and Sterling sealed the deal in the 37th minute (Silva assist). Everyone was on 8s and 9s, they shared the ball at will all game.
Cenk Tosun (1), Theo Walcott (5), DLC (12.5), Yannick Bolasie (14.25), Wayne Rooney (3.5): It was a tough day at the office for Everton attackers, as should be expected against a team that set the record for the most passes in a Premier League match. They struggled to get a grip on the game, but a slick shot from outside the box by Bolasie (63’, assist DCL) careened off both posts before the ball found its way into the back of the net.
Seamus Coleman (-4.5), Leighton Baines (2.5), Jordan Pickford (-4), Michael Keane (1.25), Phil Jagielka (-1.5): Given the prolific nature of Manchester City’s attack, you probably lost if you started any Everton defenders, and you probably deserved it.
Ederson (0), Otamendi (3.75), Kyle Walker (3.5), Laporte (3.25): Another clean sheet chance squandered by the Man City backline will drive fantasy owners bonkers.